As most of you know, I am working on a book about early (1887-1917) Notre Dame Football.
This has been painstaking work, since none of the records and none of the personal information I have dredged up is available in any one place. To complicate the problem, the Notre Dame Football Media Guide is full of errors from this period.
The attached list of players includes our top performers from this period, rated by “Games Played”; “Games Started”; and “Full Games Played”. This is a work in progress, since there are still a handful of missing or incomplete box scores and game accounts.
Let’s take a look at our “Games Played” leaders, with a tidbit on each one:
Red Salmon—Notre Dame’s greatest player from 1887 until George Gipp completed his career.
Pat Beacom---Students carried him off the field after his final home game. Played 33 games; never left the field!
George Lins---ND suspended him after the 1898 Michigan game for slugging a Michigan Player.
Clarence Sheehan---Only man in ND history with a Three-Homer and Three-TD game.
Dom O’Malley---One of the strongest men on campus. Became CSC Priest. President of Sacred Heart University.
Al Fortin---Law Degree and M.A. in Law. 1902 Football Captain.
John Farley---CSC Priest and famed dorm rector, was nicknamed “Tiger Lily” as a player. One of our first three sport stars.
Freeman Fitzgerald---Early pro football player. Worked at Cedar Point the year after Rockne.
Jack Mullen---Six straight years as our RE, five as starter and final three as Captain.
Frank Winter---nicknamed “Fat”. Fine player and kicker.
Joe Pliska---An invalid for 16 years because of WWI injuries. Two TD’s in the famous 1913 win over Army.
Frank Longeran---scored 3 TD’s in a game three times-1903. Against DePauw, scored 4 rushing TD’s & kicked six XP’s.
Nate Silver---Jewish QB and first QB to lead Irish three years (1903-1905) in a row.
Ray Eichenlaub---not far behind Salmon as our greatest early FB. Two TD’s in famous Army win.
Henry McGlew---Like Salmon, ND Head Coach after starring as player.
Gus Dorais---Most under-rated ND great. Outstanding FG kicker. College FB HoF as Head Coach (Univ. of Detroit)
Rosey Dolan---Born in England. Three-time Class President.
Harry Baujan---College Football Hall of Fame as 24-year Head Coach at Dayton.
Nace Gillen---26 year old frosh lineman: "I'm not an after dinner speaker; but I'm always after dinner". Murdered in Chicago.
Among our other “Games” leaders is Stan Cofall, our leading scorer of this period and Charlie Bachman, discus record holder and member of the College Football Hall of Fame as Head Coach of several schools, notably Michigan State. Both of them should be in the discussion behind Red Salmon to choose our top five players of this early period.
Salmon coached ND’s 1903 team to an 8-0-1 record. They surrendered ZERO points for the year!